Organic Consumers Assn

The Long March

It was a long road that led to the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly in The Hague last week (October 14 – 16). So what's next?

In his recap of this historic international citizens’ initiative, OCA’s Ronnie Cummins reports that a critical mass of us are ready to embark on a “Long March” of resistance, movement-building and regeneration.

The Monsanto People’s Assembly and Tribunal gave birth to a new resolve among activists all over the world to move beyond language and cultural barriers, beyond national and continental borders, beyond single-issue campaigning, and to begin building a new 21st Century activism model based on mutual solidarity and concrete cooperation in globally coordinated campaigns.

Ronnie writes:

Given the catastrophic consequences of “business as usual,” and continued domination by the global “1 percent,” we can no longer afford to operate as separate movements—the anti-GMO movement, the organic movement, the Fair Trade movement, the economic justice movement, the climate movement, the forest movement, the ocean movement, and the anti-war movement. Nor can we operate as regional or national movements of farmers, workers, students and consumers.

We must connect the dots between interrelated issues and we must work together, from the local to the international level, with fellow leaders of the global grassroots who see the “big picture.” Harnessing the enormous power of the global grassroots, we can build a new diverse Regenerative Movement strong enough and inspirational enough to overturn the dictatorship of Monsanto and the global elite. Coming out of Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly at The Hague there is a new sense of urgency and determination. A critical mass of us are ready to embark on this Long March of resistance, movement-building and regeneration.

Read Ronnie's essay


No Joke

As former White House Chef and President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, Sam Kass made a name for himself purporting to be a believer in, and promoter of healthy food.

Now that he’s teamed up with Campbell’s Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), and wears thetitle "chief consumer experience officer" for a food data technology start-up, Kass is claiming that “people would die” if we tear down and replace the trillion-dollar food industry, and that the idea that Big Food is evil and should simply go away is “a joke.”

Politico reported this week that during a recent debate with Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA, Kass said that the “trillion-dollar food industry is here to stay.” Kass also said that “good food” leaders haven’t created a “real political movement.”

But his best line was the one that “people would die” if Big Food goes away.

We’ve got news for Kass. People are dying now—from GMO, pesticide-laden, hormone- and antibiotic-ridden food, from nutrient-deficient food grown in dead soils, from drinking water poisoned by agricultural chemicals, and from global warming—the largest cause of which is industrial agriculture, the mainstay of “Big Food.”

We agree with Kass on one point—that the industrial food system needs to “change in a big way.” But not the way Kass is suggesting—by selling consumers on high-priced gadgets and fancy technologies the average American can’t afford to buy.

The Innit website says: "The Future of Food Is Now Connected." We say: "The Future of Food is Regenerative."

TAKE ACTION: Tell Former White House Chef Sam Kass: No Joke. Toxic Junk Food Is Killing Us!

Call Kass at 650-437-7253.

Tweet: @chefsamkass #NoJoke #ToxicJunkFood is killing us!


“You’ve empowered many victims that shall build on this Tribunal’s work in their local struggles.” – Olivier De Schutter, chair of the Monsanto Tribunal legal team and former UN special rapporteur on the right to food, October 17, 2016

One by one, they stepped up to the podium. Reading from documents they’d spent months, in some cases years, researching and preparing, they stood before a panel of judges to tell their stories.

Farmers who had taken a stand against, and in some cases lost to, Monsanto in court, after their fields were contaminated by GMO seeds. Mothers whose children were born with birth defects caused by Monsanto’s poisons. Journalists and scientists whose work was viciously attacked and discredited by Monsanto.

They were prepared. Dignified. Determined.

Across town, hundreds of activists, young and old, listened to speakers, participated in workshops, viewed films and broke bread at the People’s Assembly. And they planned for a better future.

It will be awhile before the International Monsanto Tribunal judges issue their advisory opinions on the six frames of reference. We will bring you that news when it happens.

As soon as they can, the Tribunal organizers will post written and video testimony from the witnesses, and video of the People’s Assembly workshops on the official Monsanto Tribunal website.

For now, we can tell you that by any measure, the Monsanto Tribunal was a success. And as Vandana Shiva said in her closing speech at the People’s Assembly—a sentiment echoed by many over the three days of planning and discussion—“This does not end here.”

Read the People’s Assembly Summary

Video: Tribunal Ambassador Nnimmo Bassey at the Monsanto Tribunal opening press conference

Video: Vandana Shiva at the People’s Assembly

Video: Ronnie Cummins at the People's Assembly

More video coverage on Monsanto Tribunal Facebook

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